Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Odd Shots on Monday - "An Indoor Surprise"

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Check out the modern convenience in the photo above of a stained glass window.
Do you see what I see?
Look in the upper right hand corner, just above the heads.
Let me know if you see it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Travels with Em - "The Stained Glass Window"

I am always moved to wonder at the beauty of stained glass in our churches. Light dances through the colored glass so painstakingly placed in the windows. Inside, the sun streams in to cast fragments of color on calm, sedate rows of pews filled, or waiting to be filled, by worshippers. Outside, a warm glow beckons to us with the promise of hope within.
Most of the windows depict Biblical scenes or saints, but this one in Christ Church Cathedral is a little different. In deference to Oxford's relationship to Lewis Carroll, characters from his books grace the stained glass window. They are found in the corners of the individual panes.

Christ Church is a unique institution, one of the largest colleges in the University of Oxford and, at the same time, the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Travels with Em - "The Jabberwocky Tree"

Lewis Carroll (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

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Our ElderHostel tour to Oxford focused on literature, including the works of Lewis Carroll. It is said that his poem about the Jabberwocky was inspired by this tree. Such imagination, to turn a twisted tree into a twisted poem. The poem has been called "the greatest nonsensical poem in English." This site gives some insite into the meanings of the poem.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"The Eyes" - An Explanation

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"The Eyes"
"The Eyes" were originally painted in 1928, during the time of Charles, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, and his 2nd wife, American-born Gladys Deacon. She pronounced her name "Glade - us."
There are 6 eyes, three blue and three brown. Each one fills a section of the panel in the roof of the portico at Blenheim Palace in England. Gladys' eyes are represented by the blue ones and the Dukes' are thought to be the brown ones. An analysis of a painting of the Duke in the Palace, reveals the Duke's left eye was brown and his right was brown with flecks of green and blue. It is said that the Duchess climbed the scaffold with a blue scarf the color of her eyes, for the painter to work from. No explanation is given of why the eyes were painted.
Over time, the gilded eyes were damaged by exposure and a leak in the portico roof. A restoration project was begun in December 2007, with a team of highly skilled builders and painter-decorators working almost 5 months until completion in April 2008.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "More Eyes"

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Travels with Em - "Through Alice's Door in Wonderland"

And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden.

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This is the small door in the Master gardens of Christ Church College which inspired the one in "Alice in Wonderland." Alice peeks through and sees bright flowers and fountains soon after she arrives in Wonderland. She believes it is the most beautiful garden imaginable. The garden is part of the realm of the King and Queen of Hearts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Today's Flowers - "Pink Rose"

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See more flowers here every Monday

Odd Shots on Monday - "Oversized Furniture"

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National Theater, Victoria Embankment, London

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Colorful Chameleon"

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This colorful Chameleon sat motionless, but would squeak and pedal wildly for a few coins.
Victoria Embankment, London
More "Colorful" shots here

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "The Eyes Have It"

To be continued.....
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Odd Shots on Monday- "Superman"

Will the REAL Superman please make himself known.....
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Travels with Em - "Blenheim Palace Pleasure Gardens"

A miniature train, with a steam engine named "Winston Churchill," links Blenheim Palace with the Pleasure Gardens. These gardens were more recently formed from the old kitchen gardens.

The Pleasure Gardens is a child oriented area. I wonder if they were built to keep children out of the gravel. There is a Butterfly House where exotic butterflies are in free flight. Giant chess (reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland") or draughs (which we know as checkers), putting greens, and a long adventure playground delighted our children . Also in the Pleasure Gardens is the Marlborough Maze, covered in a previous post.

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A model of Woodstock, the town where Blenheim sits, was on display in the Pleasure Gardens.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Travels with Em - "Blenheim Palace"

Blenheim Palace was built between 1705 and 1722 for John ,1st Duke of Marlborough, and his Duchess Sarah. It was a gift from Queen Anne as a reward for the Duke's military services after he successfully led the forces of a European Alliance against the French in the War of Spanish Succession. The victory he achieved at Blenheim on 13th August 1704 changed the political axis of power in the world by preventing the complete dominance of Europe by France. It was for this that Queen Anne built him this great house. This was a family home and in particular a monument to the Duke's achievement and to the Stuart dynasty.

Although the entrance to the Palace is austere and quite stark, the landscaping of the other areas more than makes up for it. Here there were small signs requesting that visitors please not walk on the gravel in this courtyard. We had been warned that the Duke has been known to come out and "yell at people who disturbed his gravel." The Duke was not in the day we visited, but we still did not disturb his gravel.
The upkeep on a historic place can take its toll. The 10th Duke made the decision to open the Palace to tourists on Easter 1950. I recall a TV interview with the 11th Duke when he explained that, although his peers were aghast that he would open his home to "The Public," it was necessary to open it or lose it. He and his family do live on the premises, but probably travel during the heavy tourist season.
The titled family does appear to be responsive to the needs of the community. During the Second World War, the 10th Duke welcomed evacuees from Malvern College for boys to the Palace. After the school was moved to another location, MI5 moved in. The Duke returned to the army, worked as a liaison officer in the British Army with the American armed forces in Britain and the Duchess became a working head of the Red Cross. In 2006, the 11th Duke celebrated his 80th Birthday by inviting the people of Oxfordshire, who were also 80 in the same year, to come to a tea party. Five hundred guests attended the party on the lawns outside. I hope they didn't step on the gravel.
Just 8 miles from Oxford, set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown, the Palace was created a World Heritage site in 1987. Brown landscaped the Park, dug the 150 acre lake, built the cascades and demolished many of the formal French gardens in the 1760's. The Park and Gardens at Blenheim provide a majestic formal setting for the Palace. Mr. Winston Churchill proposed to Miss Clementine Hozier in The Arboretum. She became Baroness Churchill, Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 9, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Dark"

Check out PhotoHunt for more "Dark" pictures.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Travels with Em - "Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace"

"They're changing the Guard at Buckinghan Palace.
Christopher Robin went down with Alice."
A.A. Milne
We arrived for this tourist event 1 1/2 hours before it was scheduled to occur. The prime location, between the front gates, was full so we staked out a place on the, almost vacant, side, where we could see the entire courtyard. I know this is a tourist event because the Queen leaves town for a couple of months during this busy season. Now I can see why.
Em could see by perching on the low wall that supported the enclosure.Posted by Picasa

The Bobbies made sure that didn't happen.

When it was time for the guard to arrive for the change, there were thousands of people waiting. I heard very little English. I did hear someone in the crowd back of us say "I can't see a thing." Neither could we and we were right on the front row. Everyone had elbowed in and Em and I were now trying to share a spot. Two tall women had squeezed Em out and were holding their cameras through the fence posts in front of our faces to take photos by aiming in the general direction of the ceremony. I don't know what they saw, but all we could see were arms and cameras, and occasionally a sniley[sic] face that turmed and looked at us. I snapped a couple of preliminary pictures before Em begged to leave. I was ready.

"Alice is marrying one of the Guard.

'A Soldier's life is terrible hard,' said Alice." A.A. Milne